Oddest Biblical Translations!

Unique Bibles

For centuries, the only way to reproduce a Bible translation was by hand. This task, however, was revolutionized by the invention of the movable type printing press. Johann Gutenberg was the first person to mass-produce God's word by making between 160 and 185 copies of it in 1455 A.D. Only twenty-one complete copies from this run exist today, with each valued at more than $25 million dollars.

The giant Mainz Bible of 1453 is considered one of the last great handwritten versions of Scripture. It has 459 vellum skin leaves with each leaf (page) measuring 22 by 16 inches (56 by 41 cm). It took a scribe fifteen months and two metric tons of ink to embellish it. The U.S. Library of Congress received this unique volume, the only one known of its kind, as a gift in 1952.

Oddest translations

The 1535 Coverdale Bible could be referred to as the "bugs" translation because it erroneously printed the first part of Psalm 91:5 (using the spelling extant at the time) as, "Thou shalt not need to be afrayd for eny bugges . . ." The word "bugges" should be "terror."

The 1560 Geneva Bible, published in Switzerland, is also known as the "Breeches Bible." Its translation of Genesis 3, verse 7 states that Adam and Eve, after they sinned, sewed "breeches" to wear out of fig leaves in order to hide their nakedness. Interestingly, this version is the first one to have verse divisions within its text.

The 1562 Geneva Bible is called by some the "placemakers" version of Scripture for its mistake in Matthew 5:9. The verse is printed as "Blessed are the placemakers: for they shall be called the children of God." The word "placemakers" should be "peacemakers."

Ornate page from Giant Mainz Bible
Ornate Biblical page
The text is in Latin

King James errors

The first printed edition of the 1611 KJV translation contains several publisher errors, such as Leviticus 13:56 that stated (in the spelling at the time), "And if the Priest looke, and behold, the plaine be . . ." The phrase "the plaine be" should be "the plague be." The second edition in 1611 also had its own unique problems. It erroneously stated, in Matthew 26:36, that Judas Iscariot came with his disciples to Gethsemane instead of Jesus.

The 1611 Bible has also been jokingly referred to as the "basketball" version. This is because, when describing what was made and placed on the north side of a court in God's wilderness tabernacle, it states (capitals added), ". . . the hangings were an hundred cubites . . . and their sockets of brasse twentie: the HOOPES of the pillars . . ." (Exodus 38:11). The correct word should be "hooks."

The 1631 KJV Bible has been humorously referred to as the wicked or adulterous translation. The seventh commandment in this version reads, "Thou shalt commit adultery" instead of reading "Thou shalt NOT commit adultery" (Exodus 20:14). The 1702 version could be referred to as the "persecuting printers" Scriptures. This is because the first part of Psalm 119:161 erroneously states, "Printers have persecuted me without a cause."

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